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Collinson Grant did some successful work for the Department of Health on the efficacy of the resources for workforce planning. It was then authorised to develop a framework to allow people and organisations to assess their capabilities in workforce planning. It was for potential application throughout the NHS.

The objective was to design and build a web-based framework to assess capacity and capability in workforce planning. It had to serve three needs:

For individual respondents - to benchmark their capability in workforce planning and plan their personal professional development

For providing organisations - to assess their capability in workforce planning and pinpoint priorities for improving their skills

For Strategic Health Authorities (SHAs) - to obtain an overview of their health economies, compare them with others, and make plans to support the development of new skills.

Approach and methodology

There was an imperative to act quickly. From the date of authorisation, our client asked us to complete the substantive part of the work in seven weeks - including external testing of the tool. In order not to waste time (and resources) we promptly conceptualised the principal components: the adaption of existing models; the structure of the tool; and the design of a supporting website.

We developed prototypes of the systems that could be modified as the final shape of the tool became evident. It was an iterative process. Regular discussions with the client ensured that all the various options and variables were thoroughly aired. We insisted that the first full working prototype should gain the commitment of the client before we moved on to the next stage of development.

The project was completed in three phases:

  • Phase 1 - Designing a framework to enable organisations to map competence in workforce planning. It was based on the UK Wide Workforce Planning Competence Framework and elements of NHS South West's Workforce Planning Organisational Self Assessment Framework
  • Phase 2 - Designing a web-enabled tool for collecting primary data and suitable analytical tools for providing useful, graphical outputs
  • Phase 3 - Piloting the framework and accompanying tools in two organisations.